Adult Swim, stylized as [adult swim] or [as], is a programming block on Cartoon Network shown during the watershed hours (8:00 pm - 6:00 am Eastern/Pacific Time note ). Founded in 2001 by Cartoon Network’s Williams Street division, the same studio that organizes Toonami note , the block's remit is to air various kinds of adult-oriented animation including seinen and edgier, usually unedited Shonen anime note and animated comedy (both originally produced and FOX acquisitions).
Since the 2007 Boston Bomb Scare and the resulting managerial changes that soon followed, the block began to incorporate live action comedies, following the example of the parent network with CN Real, and much to the chagrin of the anime and classic animated comedies. They’ve backed down on this somewhat since the "CN Real era" ended, but you can still see such shows on occasion (mainly on Friday nights).note In addition, since Toonami's revival in May of 2012, Adult Swim has shifted more towards being the channel's brand for adult (animated) comedy as Toonami took over the channel's duties of airing anime and mature action-animation once again.
Because of its adult orientations, in comparison to the rest of Cartoon Network which is kid oriented (Periphery Demographics aside), Adult Swim is considered to be a "separate network" from Cartoon Network proper for Nielsen ratings purposesnote , and often shows Content Warnings throughout the block that the programs presented are not suitable for young children. The name "Adult Swim" comes from the public pool period in which child occupants must leave the pool, as the lifeguards go on break and only the adults can swim, analogous to the network switching to adult-oriented programming. This reference was explicitly invoked in its early years when its Ad Bumpers and intro segment showed video clips from an adult swim pool.
The block is notable for its idiosyncratic commercial bumpers (bumps), its strange and cynical but often hilarious original programming, its habit of openly teasing and/or bashing those fans who complain about its near-weekly- and never advertised- schedule changes (especially when April Fools' Day is concerned), and being nearly the only place on American basic analog cable TV to run anime not aimed at children.
It also has, shall we say, an eclectic collection of original free-to-play games on its website (Robot Unicorn Attack included).
Sundays are typically rebroadcasts of FOX cartoons (such as Family Guy) and original programs from Williams Street, Adult Swim's production studio (programs such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force). Saturdays usually mix comedies with North American dubs of anime, with the latter programming taking up the majority of the network's airtime on this night. Weekday evenings are reruns of comedies, both original or otherwise.
Adult Swim plays - or has played - the following series:
- Apollo Gauntlet
- Ballmastrz: 9009
- Hot Streets
- The Jellies
- Mike Tyson Mysteries
- Mr. Pickles
- Rick and Morty
- Robot Chicken
- The Venture Bros.
Animated originals cancelled or ended:
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1 for season 8, Aqua Something You Know Whatever for season 9, Aqua TV Show Show for season 10, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Forever for season 11)
- Black Dynamite
- The Boondocks
- Brad Neely's Harg Nallin' Sclopio Peepio
- The Brak Show
- China, IL
- The Drinky Crow Show
- Frisky Dingo
- Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
- Home Movies
- King Star King
- Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil
- Mary Shelley's Frankenhole
- Mongo Wrestling Alliance
- Moral Orel
- Perfect Hair Forever
- Samurai Jack (Season 5)
- Sealab 2021
- Soul Quest Overdrive
- Space Ghost Coast to Coast note
- Stroker and Hoop
- Titan Maximum
- Tom Goes to the Mayor
- 12 oz. Mouse
- Xavier: Renegade Angel
Original animated pilots and/or specials:
- Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge
- Freaknik: The Musical
- Korgoth of Barbaria
- The New Adventures of the Wonder Twins
- American Dad!
- Baby Blues
- Bob's Burgers
- Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos (April Fools' Day prank and late-night filler)
- Clerks: The Animated Series
- The Cleveland Show
- Family Guy
- Futurama (Rights expired at the end of 2007)
- God, the Devil and Bob
- Home Movies
- King of the Hill (Rights expired at the end of June 2018)
- Mission Hill
- Mister T (April Fools' Day prank and late-night filler)
- The Oblongs
- The PJs
- The Ripping Friends (License potentially expired, as the show has not been aired on Adult Swim in years; moving to Disney XD in the next few months)
- Sit Down, Shut Up
Note: Except for American Dad!, Bob's Burgers and Family Guy, all of these series were canceled and discarded by their original host networks before syndication rights were picked up by Adult Swim (this was also the case for Family Guy, but it has since been Uncanceled due partially to ratings for the reruns on Adult Swim). Adult Swim's expired rights to Futurama were picked up by Comedy Central, which led to the show's revival on that network. Home Movies was renewed as an Adult Swim original series for an additional three and a half seasons following its original cancellation.
- Black Jesus
- Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule
- Decker: Unclassified
- Dream Corp, LLC
- The Eric Andre Show
- Joe Pera Talks With You
- Neon Joe Werewolf Hunter
- This House Has People In It (short)
- Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories
- Too Many Cooks (short)
- Unedited Footage of a Bear (Short)
- Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell
Live-action originals that were cancelled or have ended:
- Childrens Hospital
- NTSF:SD:SUV:: (on indefinite hiatus)
- Fat Guy Stuck in Internet
- The Heart She Holler
- Loiter Squad
- Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace
- Saul Of The Mole Men
- Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
- Young Persons Guide To History
- You're Whole
- Garth Marenghis Darkplace
- Look Around You
- The Mighty Boosh (Yes, it's British; no, it has nothing to do with Frisky Dingo)
- The Office (UK)
- Pee-wee's Playhouse (which, despite being a live-action show, fits right in on an animation block known for airing bizarre and off-color comedies)
- Saved by the Bell
- Astro Boy (As early morning filler)
- The Big O (Its second season is [adult swim]'s sole "original anime" note )
- Bleach (Headliner of the anime block for years, finished its run on inside Toonami)
- Blue Gender (Horribly bowdlerised, possibly due to being originally meant for Toonami. Had it been cut for Adult Swim standards, all of the violence and some of the sexual contentnote would have been shown, while the language [mostly words like "shit" and any time someone says "Jesus!" or "Jesus Christ!" as an expletive] would have been edited. In other words, it probably would have been like Cowboy Bebop in terms of being edited, but not in such a way that it's toned down for younger audiences)
- Code Geass (expired after one rerun, possibly because Adult Swim kept changing the time slot later and later)
- Cowboy Bebop (Paved the way for the rest as [adult swim]'s first anime series, and remained a perennial fixture on its schedule a decade after the network's debut. After the rights to the show expired, the Toonami staff got them back.)
- Crayon Shin-chan (The Funimation Gag Dub, directly created by a team of former Adult Swim writers who wanted to bring a comedy anime specifically for Adult Swim.)
- Death Note
- Detective Conan (50 episodes only)
- Durarara!! (The last new anime aired on Adult Swim before the Toonami relaunch.)
- Eureka Seven (Originally ran on [adult swim] from 2006 to 2008. Joined the new Toonami lineup on August 18, 2012, making it the first anime to be brought back by [adult swim] after its license had expired.)
- FLCL (Still occasionally aired, as it has actually been labeled as the Adult Swim crew's favorite anime.)
- Fullmetal Alchemist (Has not been aired since the premiere of Brotherhood, and confirmed as expired by the Toonami staff on their Tumblr)
- [[Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Aired on AS for a while and continued to air during Toonami.)
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (Both seasons of the series; later aired on Toonami)
- Gigantor (Mostly filler played at 5:30 AM EST)
- InuYasha (The second-longest running regularly-aired anime series on Adult Swim, behind only Cowboy Bebop - over 5 years after the dub ended, they continued to play reruns well into 2012, albeit as 5:30 AM filler for their Saturday anime block. It was finally pulled from the schedule when the new Toonami premiered on May 26, 2012 but returned to the lineup until the license finally expired in March 2014.)
- Lupin III (Red Jacket) (AS aired only 26 episodes, and banned the episode "To Be or Nazi Be" due to the Nazi themes).
- Mobile Suit Gundam (Aired the edited Toonami version)
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket (Aired the edited Toonami version in November-December 2002)
- Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory
- Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (It was placed on hiatus for a good portion of 2009, but eventually returned to the lineup in late summer, and finally finished in the winter of 2009.)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (was shown edited to Toonami standards back when Toonami was a daytime line-up. When NGE aired on [adult swim], the series — or rather, the episodes that they aired — were edited more in tune with what [adult swim] would do.)
- Outlaw Star (Aired the edited Toonami version, which means no "Hot Springs Planet Tenrei" episode)
- Paranoia Agent
- Pilot Candidate (Originally meant to air on Toonami, as the edited version aired on that line-up, much to the disgust of the viewers)
- Reign: The Conqueror (considered an Old Shame to the line-up, though Pilot Candidate also qualifies).
- Samurai Champloo
- S Cryed
- Super Milk Chan (ADV's "straight" dub)
- Tenchi Muyo! (Aired the edited Toonami versions of the original Tenchi Muyo OVAs. Only aired the first episode of Tenchi Universe before Cartoon Network lost the television rights to the Tenchi franchise.)
- Trinity Blood
- Voltron (Same as Gigantor)
- Witch Hunter Robin
- Wolf's Rain
- YuYu Hakusho (Aired on Adult Swim before moving to the Cartoon Network version of Toonami a year later)
Anime Films Shown on the [adult swim] Action Block:
- Bleach: Memories of Nobody
- Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion
- Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door
- InuYasha the Movie: Affections Touching Across Time
- InuYasha the Movie: The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass
- InuYasha the Movie: Fire on the Mystic Island
- InuYasha the Movie: Swords of an Honorable Ruler
- Kakurenbo (as a Halloween special in 2005)
- Read or Die (the original OAV)
Anime Shown Only on [adult swim] Australia and New Zealand:
- Akame ga Kill!
- Attack on Titan
- The Big O (Second season only)
- Black Clover
- Bleach (Holdover from [adult swim] Action)
- Cowboy Bebop (Holdover from [adult swim] Action, the rights expired in 2013 before being picked up again in July 2014)
- Dimension W
- Dragon Ball Z Kai (also aired at 8:00 outside of Toonami for several months)
- Dragon Ball Super (Also aired at 8:00 outside of Toonami)
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (Holdover from [adult swim] Action)
- Hunter × Hunter (2011)
- IGPX Immortal Grand Prix
- Inuyasha: The Final Act
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
- Kill la Kill
- Lupin III The Italian Adventure
- Michiko & Hatchin
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
- Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096
- Naruto: Shippuden
- One-Punch Man
- Outlaw Star (The third anime to be brought back by [adult swim] after its license had expired. During its 2017 run, it was aired uncut.)
- Samurai Champloo (Originally aired on [adult swim] Action. It's the second anime to be brought back by [adult swim] after its license had expired.)
- Samurai Jack (Originally aired on Cartoon Network and Boomerang)
- Samurai Jack (2017)
- Space Dandy
- Sword Art Online II
License Expired Shows:
- Beware the Batman (Originally aired on Cartoon Network)
- Black Lagoon
- Blue Exorcist
- Casshern Sins
- Deadman Wonderland
- Eureka Seven (Originally aired on [adult swim] Action)
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Holdover from [adult swim] Action)
- Gurren Lagann
- Hellsing Ultimate
- InuYasha (Holdover from [adult swim] Action, the rights expired in 2014)
- Naruto (Only the first 52 episodes)
- One Piece (also aired at 8:30 outside of Toonami... for about a month)note
- Parasyte -the maxim-
- Samurai 7
- Soul Eater
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Originally aired on Cartoon Network; lost the license to Disney during their buyout of Lucasfilm)
- Sword Art Online
- Sym-Bionic Titan (Originally aired on Cartoon Network)
- Tenchi Muyo! GXP
- ThunderCats (2011) (Originally aired on Cartoon Network)
- Children Who Chase Lost Voices
- Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge
- Dragon Ball Z: Broly, the Legendary Super Saiyan
- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa
- Mind Game
- Rebuild of Evangelion - Evangelion 1.11 and 2.22
- Kick-Heart note
- Summer Wars
- Trigun: Badlands Rumble
Toonami Immersion Events:
- Off The Air (combinations of surreal animated and live action shorts that airs infrequently)
- Infomercials (ditto)
- Flintstones on the Rocks
- G.I. Joe: Resolute
- Rejected (Scheduled and promoted, but pulled at the last minute due to censorship issues)
- The Room (Run as an April Fools' Day prank in 2009-2011. In 2012, they teased viewers with a fourth showing of the movie... only to kick off the Toonami revival instead.)
- Ranger Smith: Boo Boo Runs Wild (played on a regular basis for a few months, mostly as a potshot to their viewers)
- The Greatest Event in Television History (Adam Scott and his friends remake 80's detective series and sitcom openings. Series of 4 specials).
Series Shown Only on [adult swim] UK and Ireland:
Series Shown Only on [adult swim] Canada:
adult swim Website Games:
Console and PC games published by [adult swim]:
- Battle Chef Brigade
- Duck Game
- Glittermitten Grove
- Mega Coin Squad
- Rise and Shine
- Super House of Dead Ninjas
- Volgarr The Viking
- Westerado: Double Barreled
[adult swim] Web Originals
- On Cinemanote
- FishCenter Live (a daily livestream show from Adult Swim's offices, involving employees of Adult Swim taking calls from viewers, playing games and goofing around, with two fish tanks at the center of the action; edited versions consisting of highlights from that day's livestream have been aired as early-morning filler and weekly recaps go up on Adult Swim's YouTube channel)
- Williams Street Swap Shop (another livestreaming call-in talk show, supposedly set in a remote Georgia cabin, where viewers can call in to potentially swap unwanted/unneeded items with each other)
- Bloodfeast (yet another livestreaming call-in talk show where Adult Swim employees work on that day's crossword puzzle from the New York Times, with viewers calling in to help solve it)
- The Cry Of Mann (a special live call-in Twin Peaks-esque soap opera from Wham City Comedy about a family looking into the disappearance of Tank Mann, the head of their patriarch)
Adult Swim is also known for unique timing of commercial breaks. Most American networks have 8 minutes of commerical breaks per half-hour block — one 1 or 2 minute break at the top of the half-hour, two 2 or 3 minute breaks during the show, and a final 1 or 2 minute break at the end of the half-hour. Adult Swim has only 2 breaks per half-hour. Still totaling 8 minutes, but there's one break in the middle of the half-hour, and one at the end. Viewers appreciate this for obvious reasons, and they can sometimes have up to 5 uninterrupted minutes of commercial time to leave the TV and do other things before the next show comes on. God knows what the advertisers think of that, but considering AS's key demographic is the advertising gold-mine of males from age 18-35, they still pony up the dollars. The only downside to the viewer would be a Commercial Break Cliffhanger in non-original programming is less effective because the show continues immediately after (unless, of course, that happens to be where the break actually hits). Incidentally, this is how all ad breaks work on UK and Japanese channels - quite fortunate given all the UK and Japanese programming. (Actually, given the almost total preponderance of Japanese programming in the very early lineup, this is quite possibly not incidental at all.)
Bizarrely (or not given their track record for severely cutting what content they do air), Cartoon Network in the UK has never had an Adult Swim slot. This may be due to the fact that the UK version is classified as a kids' channel under British broadcasting regulations and is forbidden from showing any adult content, even after the UK's 9PM watershed. Laddish lad channel Bravo did aired it instead, but that channel bit the dust in 2010 and took that slot with it. The slot ended up over on TCM2, occupying a much shorter 2 and a half hour slot only on Friday nights/Saturday mornings to go along with small selection of episodes that went on the website each week (although DVDs of the shows finally started being released in the UK in late 2008). Since then though, the block was discontinued and the home entertainment releases of Adult Swim shows have dried up. As of September 2015, Fox UK aired a 90 minute Adult Swim block on Thursday, with the shows repeated Saturday. It was also available on truTV on Monday and Friday nights in late 2016, marking the first time the block has been seen on a free-to-air channel in the UK. The block is now currently in limbo and it's unknown if another channel will pick it up, but some shows, including Rick and Morty, are now available on Netflix's UK branch.
In Australia and New Zealand, the local branch of Cartoon Network once had its own version of Adult Swim, including both comedy and anime, but the entire block was canceled at the end of 2007. The comedy series moved to The Comedy Channel (The Antipodean equivalent to Comedy Central) which still continues to air on a daily basis with consistent ratings, even though the block airs only on Saturdays from 12am-2am AEST and 6:30pm-7:30pm ASET. Many Adult Swim series, both comedy and anime, are available on DVD in the two countries, due to a licensing deal with Madman Entertainment. A few of the anime shows were picked up by the local Sci Fi Channel's Animax block.
Latin America used to have Adult Swim via Cartoon Network and later I.Sat, due to negative reviews from the parents. It mostly showed Adult Swim original cartoons (with a great deal of the bumps explicitly stating they would never show anime even though they did later on). Unfortunately, it ran only Friday through Sunday at very late hours, and apparently people didn't get most of the jokes, so it was canceled not long after it debuted. It was brought back first in Brazil on TBS on Novmber 3, 2014, and in the remainder of the region on I.Sat on April 3, 2015.
In Canada, Adult Swim programming has historically aired on Teletoon's own late-night block, Teletoon at Night/The Detour. A domestic version was launched in 2012 as a late-night block on the Canadian version of Cartoon Network; a sibling to Teletoon. The block is composed of older originals, as well as other acquired shows (even Samurai Jack!). Most of Adult Swim's shows have been acquired by other networks note Perhaps because of this, the block seldom airs newer original shows from Adult Swim proper. To compensate, Turner launched a SVOD app which allows Canadians to watch new episodes and past seasons of original shows (and even, again, Samurai Jack!). However, again due to the existing program rights, several shows aren't available.
Tropes exhibited by [adult swim] include:
- Ad Bumpers: Adult Swim is quite famous for these. You can see an entire archive of these bumps here.
- All Adult Animation Is South Park: Adult Swim and much of its content is accused of advocating this. Even more so now that the block's anime and action cartoons, the most notable aversions, are once again under the Toonami brand.
- Case in point: Samurai Jack's final season, which aired inside Toonami, is an aversion. Despite the heavy violence and adult themes, the show still has relatively clean humour. However, Rick and Morty also averts this to a lesser extent. The show is not above being deliberately offensive, but tends to do so sparingly.
- all lowercase letters: Adult Swim's branding of course, stylized as [adult swim].
- Animation Age Ghetto: The Nielsen ratings are often considered to be an example of this. While this trope is subverted for their comedy titles, it is sadly played straight for most of their Anime titles.
- This is also depressingly played straight with many of their home videos (especially the earlier releases), as they are still edited just like their TV versions.
- April Fools' Day: Adult Swim has a running tradition of messing with their programs on April 1st, both the night of and the following day. Examples being mustaches drawn on characters, putting fart noises in the shows, running a marathon of Perfect Hair Forever as dated VHS with badly done subbing, playing The Room (which is what arguably granted the movie more infamy as it now had a wider audience) or even bringing back past Williams Street blocks such as Toonami for the night. One year, they dug up reruns of Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos.
- Artifact Title/The Artifact:
- Adult Swim is named as such as it came from the analogy of the network switching to adult-oriented programming by showing Ad Bumpers consisting of a public pool period where the children have to get out and let the adults swim. This analogy hasn't been used since 2003, when these bumpers were replaced with the "white text on black" style bumpers seen ever since, and the "swim" part isn’t really recognized much anymore.
- Contributing to Cartoon Network’s controversial decision of adding live action shows to the channel (and thus making "Cartoon" Network an Artifact Title somewhat), Adult Swim has also controversially added a number of live action shows to their lineup. While the live action Adult Swim shows have better critical reception than their regular Cartoon Network counterparts because they aren’t just Discovery Channel ripoffs, these works and the decision has unsurprisingly not been well received with a good portion of the fanbase, especially if you ask fans of the anime or the classic animated comedies.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Adult Swim wished for the third season of Moral Orel to be darker than either of the previous two - and instantly regretted it. The series was then cancelled.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor:
"Stupid Adult Swim only plays it [Inuyasha] on Saturdays now."
- Adult Swim has often made fun of their own strange programming decisions at times. They also have had plenty of things to say about Cartoon Network’s executive decisions, to say the least.
- From a segment on Robot Chicken:
"And they can watch TV but only a half an hour, and only cartoons, so that means no Cartoon Network."
- In Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 01 the episode "Jumpy George" has a woman hiring Meatwad to babysit her children. Her instructions:
- Cassette Futurism: This Gold Commercial.
- Colon Cancer: At least one program uses multiple colons in the name of the show, a parody Police Procedural series titled "NTSF:SD:SUV::" which stands for "National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle: :".
- Commercial Pop-Up:
- During the "world premiere" of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force film, the movie was aired normally for the first 7 minutes, and then displayed without sound in a tiny box in the corner of the screen, and episodes of Family Guy and Futurama aired while the movie ran (in its entirety) in the corner. During this, humongous pop-up ads for the movie with loud sound effects also appeared from time to time.
- One episode of Frisky Dingo had a message on the screen for 15 seconds at the start that said "This is where the network puts that mammoth bug." Then, "Enjoy the show." Biting-the-Hand Humor doesn't even begin to cover it.
- Content Warnings: "Just in case that last disclaimer wasn't enough, this episode contains extreme violence. We would rather run this than cut the violence from the episode because we are American Cowboys." —Adult Swim before really bloody anime episodes; as stated, it follows a more traditional content warning advising that Adult Swim is not for viewers under 18...err 14.
- Foreshadowing: Adult Swim once aired a "Where Are They Now" style bump, with the last one featuring Brak, Zorak, and Moltar planning a revival of Cartoon Planet. Cartoon Planet would return on March 31, 2012.
- Network Decay: Listed in Slipped. Contributing their part to Cartoon Network's decay (other than the Boston Bomb Scare), Adult Swim's lineup has aired both original and rerun live-action shows, phased out of a number of animated shows, and now has an increasing over-reliance on FOX acquisitions for viewership and filling timeslots. Also mirroring main CN's decision of ending Toonami, the biggest victims of the decay has been the anime lineup, which has since been relegated exclusively to the Saturday Night-Sunday Morning timeslots. Adult Swim has however, called Cartoon Network's decay out and even lampshaded their own strange programming choices at times, so they're at least aware of this. Not to mention due to the same constant schedule switching that has screwed over many of its titles, what's decaying one week can be on the upswing the next.
- Obvious Stunt Double: NTSF:SD:SUV makes it very obvious, although it's really the editing that gives it away, not bad continuity. Such as cutting to a sudden, awkward, far angle shot just for Trent to perform an entire spin kick (with his hair covering his face, no less).
- Our Product Sucks: Quite a few of the Adult Swim bumpers are self-deprecating, often featuring flames and trolls from the message boards. When the network played Saved by the Bell, the network changed its logo to "[crappy 1980's live action tv show network]", after a message board user suggested it.
- Overly Long Gag: A staple of Adult Swim shows. In the commentary of a The Venture Bros. episode, Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer point out the fact that their show, unlike the rest of Adult Swim, rarely used the device.
- Packaged as Other Medium: The Western Animation folder on this trope's page could just be renamed the [adult swim] folder as all the examples are [as] programs. It's even lampshaded in the examples themselves.
- Pun: [all times and music eastern]
- Recycled In Space: It's like Nick @ Nite ON CARTOON NETWORK!
- Running Gag:
- Speech-Centric Work: Their original series tend to emphasize dialogue, typically as a result of their limited budgets.
- Spiritual Successor: The Turner networks have a history of doing weird things late at night- see TBS' 17 Update Early in the Morningnote and Tushnote , and TNT's MonsterVision and 100% Weird; Adult Swim proudly carries on the weird, homegrown feel of those shows.
- Stylistic Suck: Most of the animated shows are known for having intentionally crude designs for the sake of comedy, but also partially to keep the budgets down. The better-looking shows will still be this in the form of Affectionate Parody towards cheesy 80s and 90s programs.
- Subverted Kids Show: Adult Swim itself is this trope for Cartoon Network in general. A number of programs also qualify such as, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Sealab 2021, Moral Orel, Robot Chicken, and G.I. Joe: Resolute.
- Surreal Horror: Most of the live-action shows post-Tim & Eric, ranging from uncomfortable, confusing and, more recently, legitimate horrifying.
- Surreal Humor: Most Adult Swim original programs exhibit this in varying degrees, from "wacky" to "What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?".
- Take That!/Take That, Audience!/Trolling Creator: Adult Swim just loves to do this at times with their Ad Bumpers. On occasions, Adult Swim tends to lampshade this.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "Attention Toonami Faithful: We heard you. On 05.26.12 #ToonamisBackBitches"
- Timeshift Channel: With the exception of Saturdays, the "DVR Theater" and the occasional nights of programming decided by contest winners, Adult Swim's second half is usually a repeat of its first half. A thing to note is that considering that Cartoon Network has separate East and West Coast feeds, it's sometimes possible to watch something four times in a night if one so wishes to, if one has DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse or Dish Network, or if your cable company has access to the live feeds of the channel on the website.
- Translation Train Wreck: The 2007 Adult Swim April Fool's Day gag involved 'bootleg' versions of several Adult Swim shows.
- Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: One fan suggested that they pit Brock Sampson vs. Black Dynamite and see who wins. Adult Swim ran with it, telling fans to vote on Twitter, and the results would be posted the following week. There was no decisive winner. The final tally was 50/50, and a massive flame-war erupted from both fandoms. Adult Swim followed up with the next matchup: Stewie Griffin vs. Early Cuyler. They also said that what they really want to see is the Brock Sampson and Black Dynamite fandoms to fight each other."Because some y'all crazy bitches!"
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In 2007, Adult Swim launched a guerrilla marketing campaign for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie featuring battery powered LED placards resembling the Mooninite characters being placed in numerous places around the US. However in Boston, police officials mistakenly thought that the LEDs were bombs, and treated the whole event as such. This event would turn out to be known as the Boston Bomb Scare, which lead to legal implications being placed on Turner Broadcasting and their contractors, the internet to make mock "Never Forget" memes, and forced then current Cartoon Network head Jim Samples to step down. It wouldn’t be long after until fans began to realize that Adult Swim, scratch that, Cartoon Network in general would not be the same since the incident. Not because of any legal incidents, but because Samples' replacement, Stuart Snyder, would become the instigator of the channel’s infamous Dork Age with the influx of live-action sitcoms and reality shows on the channel.
- [adult swim]